Report to address expected rapid growth in NT seniors


Northern Institute Senior Research Fellow Dr Andrew Taylor says the research aims to help shift negative perceptions of seniors

Northern Institute Senior Research Fellow Dr Andrew Taylor says the research aims to help shift negative perceptions of seniors

Researchers will discuss impacts from anticipated rapid growth in the number of seniors living in the Northern Territory at a presentation tomorrow (Friday, 1 May).

Northern Institute researchers at Charles Darwin University will discuss results of a major survey of seniors in light of an anticipated doubling of the NT’s proportion of population aged 65 years and over by 2041.

The survey, run in partnership with the Council on the Ageing NT (COTA NT), targeted about 2000 Territorians, including non-Indigenous people aged 50 years and over and Indigenous aged 45 years and over.

Senior Research Fellow Dr Andrew Taylor said the presentation would discuss key findings, including large anticipated growth in Indigenous Territorians aged 65 and over. The number of Indigenous seniors in the NT was expected to increase at around five per cent a year until 2041 due to past and future life expectancy improvements.

“It’s important that policy-makers work directly with seniors and their representing organisations to ensure their needs are met,” Dr Taylor said.

He said he would present the survey’s key findings, including that 21 per cent of respondents anticipated leaving the NT before 2018.

Dr Taylor said the survey showed cost of living was the most significant reason for seniors’ anticipated moves away from the NT, with 31 per cent of respondents identifying this as a factor.

“We need to encourage seniors to stay in the NT throughout their retirement as their social and economic contributions to communities are vital,” he said.

“The research should help shift negative perceptions of seniors as an economic burden and demonstrate that they are active contributors who will be vital to future investment and innovation in the NT.”

The survey by Dr Taylor and fellow researchers Benxiang Zeng and Huw Brokensha, “Now you see us! A Report on the Policy and Economic Impacts from Rapid Growth in the Number of Senior Territorians”, will be presented and followed by a discussion panel including COTA NT CEO Graeme Bevis. COTA NT advocates for age-friendly communities in the NT.

The event will be held at the COTA NT office in Spillett House (65 Smith Street, Darwin) from 10am until 11am.

Attendees will find out about:

Demographic precursors that exist in the NT, which will deliver a relatively rapid onset of population ageing and swift growth in the number of seniors.

Movement into retirement ages for long-term residents will leave a hole in the workforce and create significantly more seniors than observed in the past.

Changing demographics associated with population giving rise to the need for targeted policies to ensure adequate planning for the future needs of seniors.

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